Wednesday, April 15, 2015

MOON 1998-2015

My heart is breaking. 

Today, at 6:30 a.m., Myladylove and I had to put our beloved Moon to sleep. A wrenching, soul-haunting decision, and one our hearts began beseechingly second-guessing even as compassionate reasoning knew it was the right choice.

I haven't slept a moment since Monday evening…and I doubt I'll be able to rest tonight, though I'm utterly exhausted. 

Moon has been my constant daily companion for the past seventeen years. Faithfully overjoyed when greeting me at the door, whether I'd been away for half-a-day, half-an-hour, or half-a-minute. Fully heart-invested in our relationship, a boundless love that asked for nothing more than to be loved in return. Which I did, always, with all my heart because it was so easy to love her. She was truly the most wonderful dog I've ever known.

Life, they say, goes on. Time heals. Maybe, to some minor degree. But right now, and I believe forever more, our home and life will remain unrelentingly empty with no warm-eyed Moon-the-Dog to fill this aching hole in our hearts. 

Moon was family. Godspeed, sweet girl.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

KINGFISHER DAYS

Spring along the river is starting to shape up nicely—or at least it was until heavy rains several days in a row turned things into a muddy flow that's now risen several feet above normal levels. Not that the water is dangerously high and I'm concerned about possible flooding. But appearance-wise, it's sure not the gentle, pastoral stream the hue of old jade, which burbled past the cottage a few days ago. 

Of course the one constant to a riverside life is change. Change in water levels and color. Change in vegetation. Change in the cast of characters sharing this fluid space. 

A few weeks ago there were wood ducks vying for paddling space with the mallards and Canada geese on the big eddy across from the cottage. Then the woodies disappeared. Today they're back—six of 'em that I can count, the drakes as stunningly resplendent in their spring attire as any native bird in North America.

Other welcome returnees are the pair of kingfishers who've decided to again set up their fishing dives from an overhanging sycamore limb just upstream. They employed this same perch over several days a couple of weeks back, before redeploying to a different limb across and farther upriver. So long as they continue to use this closer staging branch, I have at least a chance of making a photo.

Kingfishers are sharp-eyed and easily spooked—not very obliging photographic subjects. The image above, from about the time I started getting sick several weeks ago, is the best of a bunch of attempts. Getting it involved more luck than skill—and even so, it was still captured from a distance well beyond the frame-filling reach of my longest lens, and thus had to be heavily cropped to produce what you now see. 

I keep hoping and trying to do better. So a few more kingfisher days are welcome.        

Friday, April 3, 2015

FOOL'S ERRAND

Well, it has finally happened. I've reached that post-malady rubicon where acute stir-craziness has overridden any heeding of continued caution and such medically helpful restraints as common sense. Therefore I'm readying my still-hacking and sorry-looking self to attempt a brief excursion to the local grocery store.

I'd say my chances are 50/50. That is, I may or may not be capable of actually getting there, or of walking from truck to entrance across the parking lot if I do—and once inside, capable of pushing a cart around in a food-gathering circle and checking out afterwards. 

Chances of getting back to the truck, loading my purchases, driving home, unloading, and carrying the stuff inside is more on the order of 10/90, with the odds favoring failure. What troubles me is knowing exactly where along that sequence of events my ordeal is apt to deteriorate into a debacle.

I'm still so weak that just getting ready to go has left me exhausted. I feel like that old flashlight you keep in the glove box. You know, the cheap one you pull out when you have that flat you were never really expecting, and because you didn't believe one of your tires would have the effrontery to give up its air, you didn't pay attention to the light's batteries? So you toggle the thing on, and just as you get the jack set…the barely adequate light peters out and dims to a feeble yellow glow. 

Well, my current energy levels correlate depressingly to that flashlight. I can shine a little bit for a little while…then I become a dim and feeble yellow glow.

Yup, another fool's errand in the making. 
   

      

Sunday, March 29, 2015

CHECKING IN…

For the past five days I've been pretty much laid low by some sort of nasty bug. Virus? Bacteria? I dunno. But decidedly awful whatever it is. I haven't been this sick, or felt so bad, in at least a decade. Muscle aches, chills, sweats, coughing, sneezing, runny eyes and nose, loss of appetite—everything but a fever, which probably rules out flu. Though no flu I've ever had rendered me as miserable. 

I swear, even my hair hurts! I feel like I've been run over by a bus.

Of course I'm up and down all night, unable to sleep or even rest. But equally incapable of sitting up for very long. I'm writing this post during one of my short periods of suffered verticality. 

The only good part about this ordeal is that I've not missed any nice days outside. Yesterday and the day before barely made it above freezing. Today, while mostly sunny, is still cold. I probably wouldn't be doing much outdoor work even if I were better…so I don't have to feel guilty over wasting time.

I'll let you know if I survive… 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

GLOOMY GRUMBLES

Another rainy, cloudy, chilly, gloomy day. Where'd that nice early-spring weather go? I'm eager to get started on various remodeling projects, and this isn't the sort of weather I want to see since—even though I'm working inside—my sawing and painting requires at least dry outdoor conditions. Temperatures above freezing wouldn't hurt, either. 

Even the birds seem a little depressed. A robin has been hanging around the dooryard all morning…not feeding, mind you, either on the food I've put out, or whatever tasty tidbit can be found with a bit of scratching nearby. Instead, Mr. Redbreast has just been moping about, alternating his loitering between various rocks and limbs and stumps.

The usually cheery chickadees are equally lackadaisical. The red birds have lost their whistles. And the kingfisher who decided to perch on a limb overlooking the river simply sat there in what appeared to be a feathered funk—not scanning the water below for vulnerable minnows, just hunkering darkly, like a stranded commuter waiting for a long-overdue bus.

Guess it's just that sort of day…       

Monday, March 23, 2015

WEATHER & WOODIES

It's cloudy this morning, and cold—34˚F at the moment, with a predicted high of only 40˚, plus an 80% chance of snow this afternoon and tonight! Rather discouraging news for those who are desperately longing for spring to materialize sunshiny and green, overflowing with birdsong. 

I want that myself. I'm looking forward to those days. But I've also been around the block too many times to venture out onto that overly hopeful limb. This is, after all, Ohio…and March. Sure, the calendar says it's spring, though that's merely a technical detail—not something you embrace with your heart. 

History matters. Not to mention latitude. March weather here in the Buckeye State is volatile, changeable, slow to make up it's mind, prone to backtracking—overall, a decidedly iffy affair. To expect too much too soon is foolish, a recipe for certain disappointment.

So I remind myself to be patient and keep an eye out for encouraging signs. Like the quartet of wood ducks who dropped by recently to paddle around in the eddy across from the cottage. Some folks think woodies are the most beautiful bird in North America. They're unquestionably one of the most vividly colored—the males, anyway. Alas, you can't tell from my image, which is heavily cropped and was taken in poor light. 

Still, they are one of the true seasonal signs I can count on each and every spring. Their arrival doesn't necessarily signal spring weather is immediately at hand—you know, the sort we all imagine when when we conjure up our mental image of the season—but they do mean that it's in the works…coming in its own good time.          

I'll settle for that.

–––––

Sunday, March 22, 2015

CROCUS, HOORAY!

My crocus along the southeast side of the cottage bloomed last week. The rich orange ones first, then the purple-and-white striped variety, followed by the all-purple blooms, and finally the snow whites. I think that's the full color-range lot of 'em, though I'm not positive. 

Every fall I try and stick a few more bulbs into the ground—as I do with daffodils, tulips, and several other spring-blooming bulbs. Crocus are hardy and pretty foolproof when it comes to care. Nevertheless, some of the bulbs I set out fail to materialize the following spring. Or manage a single appearance and disappear thereafter. 

Whether the fault lies in the bulbs themselves—I sometimes pick up leftover packages of bulbs on closeout—or gardener error, I couldn't say. But occasionally I'm pleasantly surprised to find a crocus I'd forgotten about setting out blooming jauntily on the hillside, or I find a little patch of 'em tucked into a forgotten corner. 

So maybe the full crocus contingent has not yet shown up. No matter…those bright and lovely ones now dancing in the sun have already lifted my vernal impatience.

You know it's spring when the crocus bloom!